by John Settle
Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover is completing the first year of his second term as mayor. Yes, Virginia he has been in office for five (5) years and he really does try to act like Santa – twelve (12) months of the year.
Unlike last year when the Big G had the re-election victory as an early Christmas present from Santa, Santa may be delivering him another lump of coal on the 25th. And after last month’s political lumps of coal, Heavy G may be putting a hard hat on his Christmas list.
Glover’s first term as mayor ran smoothly, with limited political opposition to any of his actions. Some say that was because he did very little, and/or because he was a novelty, being Shreveport’s first black mayor. Glover’s re-election went smoothly, due in large part to his strong support in the white community and the weak field of contenders.
Usually a second-term Shreveport Mayor (think John Hussey and Keith Hightower) get to continue an unchallenged reign as Mayor until year 3 (actually year 7) when the next wannabe mayors start lining up. However, Glover’s “second term free ride” appears to be on a crash and burn sleigh ride, as evidenced by three (3) recent political setbacks.
On October 25th, the Shreveport City Council rejected Glover’s proposed street repair/maintenance bond issue by an unexpected 5-2 vote. Most observers believed the bond package would pass or fail on a 4-3 vote, with Jeff Everson being the “swing” vote. Despite immense political pressure, Everson stood his ground and voted against the proposal; additionally there was a surprise “No” vote cast by Joe Shyne.
A few weeks later, Glover was fined $3,000 by the Louisiana Board of Elections for inaccuracies in campaign finance reports filed during the 2010 election. Until this action, Heavy G had refused to respond to inquiries from the Shreveport Times about finance report irregularities, including the listing of anonymous contributors and donations over the campaign limits. The timing and descriptions supplied with the fine caused many observers to cry foul, as the fine was released the week of the senate runoff that Glover had invested great political capital in support of incumbent Lydia Jackson.
Glover’s setback in the defeat of Lydia Jackson by Greg Tarver, a previously tarnished state senator making a comeback, appears to have crippled Glover’s campaign “team” extensively. Glover made numerous public appearances, including media spots endorsing Jackson. In the TV coverage at the primary election party, Glover made no effort to allow Jackson to take center stage at her own party. The issue that amazes outsiders was that Glover’s perspective seems clouded and he is unable to refocus his efforts based on the changing political environment.
The word on the street was that Glover and Jackson had planned an “office swap” for 2014. Jackson would run for Shreveport Mayor with the endorsement of Glover, and assuming success, Glover would run for the unexpired Senate term of Jackson. The camps probably should spend some time revisiting their positions and any thoughts of Santa Claus handing our presents this year are probably gone with the grinch.
Since early this year, Glover has had a “take no prisoners” attitude on several issues at City Hall, particularly the charter requirements for an external audit. Now that Glover suffered not one, not two, but three stinging political defeats in less than four weeks, the political heavyweight in city hall will probably have fewer visions of sugar plums dancing in his head. Both friend and foe alike might be thinking that the formerly invincible mayor may need to go back into training. Heavy G might be a sinking weight rather than a smooth easy “ride” in any future race.
So boys and girls, hang your stockings with care, chose your sides carefully and don’t make any commitments you can’t keep. There are no guaranteed Christmas presents and you better play it very conservatively until the dust begins to clear in city hall.